Tommy - The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl? - Chapter 29

The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl?

A Novel By Teddie S.

Copyright © 2017 Teddie S.
All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 29
An airport and a surprise or two.

(Authors note: since we’re back in New Mexico I thought I should remind you what a few of the Navajo sayings mean: Nádleeh - the one is changing, a two spirit person. Yá’át’ééh – means, it is good and is used as a greeting. Yá’át’ééh alní'íní – is used for a good evening greeting.)

It was the Friday after Amy had finished her clinicals, and we were met at the airport by someone that I hadn’t expected to see there. It was my Grandmother Devereux. She saw us, held her arms out, and said, “There’s my two favorite grandchildren.”

She wrapped her arms around us in a big hug and gave both of us kisses.

Now you’re probably wondering why Amy and I are at an airport and being met by my grandmother? You see, I had decided to take Amy back to New Mexico for a long week. It’s partly a honeymoon, which we never properly had, partly a birthday present for Amy, because she loved it out here, and partly for Amy to relax after a rough set of clinicals. Plus we wanted to come back here do some site seeing, and visit some more with my grandmother, my aunt and uncle, and others. And both Amy and I love this place. So, we were at the airport in Albuquerque.

I asked, “Grandma what are you doing here? I thought that either Aunt Ruth or Uncle Paul were going to meet the plane.”

“Aren’t you happy to see me?”, grandma replied.

“Of course, we're happy to see you, grandma. We were just expecting Aunt Ruth or Uncle Paul.”

“They’re both here too. I just had to come along and see my two favorite grandchildren.”

Just then my aunt and uncle walked up, and there were hugs and kisses all around. We then grabbed our baggage and headed for the parking lot. Uncle Paul had brought the van from the resort, and Amy and I sat in the second seat with grandma on the drive to the resort.

As we had last time, on our way to the resort we just chatted. Then grandma asked the big question, “Honey. Where's, Tammy?”

“She’s home.”, I replied.

“Oh. Why? She was a lot of fun.”

“Kai wanted to come. So I brought her.”

Grandma smiled, and said, “I can’t wait to see her again.”

“She couldn’t wait to come. She’s at home here.”

“Is she staying the whole week?”

“Yes. I brought the two Bill dresses, the long skirt that mom gave Kai, and a couple of blouses.”

“Honey. You’re going to need more clothes than that.”

“You think?”

“Oh yes. Maybe a couple of skirts and some more blouses.”


“I know of a woman that lives in Santa Fe that makes some very lovely things. And I’d be happy to take you and Amy.”

I looked at Amy and asked, “Honey. What do you think?”

“It wouldn’t hurt for Kai to have some more things. And maybe even I could find something.”

“Good.”, grandma said. “We’ll run out there tomorrow morning, and maybe Ruth will go with us.”

“I’d love to.”, my aunt said. “And Tom don’t forget this is Friday.”

“Friday?”, I asked.

“Don’t tell me that you’ve forgotten Friday nights at the resort.”

“Oh yeah. The barbecue.”

We arrived at the resort, and I still can’t get over how pretty it is. All the adobe buildings and landscaping. We went into the hotel to register, and I saw the picture of me, the tree, and the storm on the wall next to the registration desk. I just looked at it and shook my head.

Amy whispered, “What’s the matter, honey. Don’t you like the picture?”

“It’s not the picture.”, I replied. “It’s a great picture. It’s who’s in it.”

“What. Some cute Navajo girl.”

“Yeah. Right.”

“Honey. I love that picture of you. And so do your parents.”

“I know.”

As we were registering, my aunt said, “We’ve upgraded you to a Cliffside Suite.”

“Aunt Ruth. No. You’ve done enough for us already.”

“Tommy. It’s your honeymoon. Just consider the upgrade as our wedding present to you.”

After we’d registered, my aunt and uncle helped us carry our luggage to our room. And grandma came along. There was a king size bed, a full bath, a Kiva fireplace with a table and chairs in front of it. There was also a private patio, with a soaking tub, which faced the cliffs. And like the rest of the resort, it was built out of adobe and decorated in a Southwestern theme.

Amy and I looked around, and Amy said, “Aunt Ruth. Uncle Paul. This room is so nice. And as Tom said, this is just too much. But we love it and appreciate the upgrade.”

“It’s our pleasure, honey.”, Aunt Ruth said. “Why don’t you two get settled in and then meet us at the barbecue. There’s going to be some dancers and special guests. And the resort is almost full, so there will be a lot of people there.”

“And you don’t have to leave the barbecue early like last time.”, my uncle added.

“That’ll be fun.”, Amy said. “And we promise to not fall asleep before dinner this time.”

Then grandma said, “Now you two. Like last time, my car is yours to use while you’re out here.”

“Grandma.”, I said. “We can’t do that.”

“Why not. The doctors still don’t want me driving for a while, and the poor car is lonely.”

I sighed, and said, “Okay. I know better than to argue with you.”

As she handed me the keys, grandma said, “I’m glad you’ve learned.”

I hugged her, and said, “Thank you.”

Then my uncle said, “And you know where to get gas when you need it.”

I looked at my uncle, shook my head, and said, “Uncle Paul!”

He just smiled.

Everyone left with my aunt saying, “Don’t forget the barbecue.”

As the door closed, Amy wrapped her arms around me, and we shared a long kiss. When we broke the kiss, I said, “Not that I’m complaining, but what was that for?”

With her cute smile, she said, “Because I love you so much, because you brought us back here, and because you are just you.”

“You’re cute. I love you too. And thanks for putting up with me.”

“There’s no one that I’d rather put up with than you. You’re fun to be with.”

Before things went further, Amy and I unpacked and put our clothes away. Then we had a short time before we needed to get ready for the barbecue, so we took a quick walk around the resort. And of course, there was the smell of the food cooking.

As we walked back into our room, Amy asked, “Who’s going to the barbecue?”

“You and me. Why?”, I replied.

She looked at me, put her hands on her hips, and said, “I know I’m going. But are you or is Kai going with me?”

“Oh. I guess I am.”

I guess the smile on my face gave me away, as Amy said, “Brat. It had better be Kai, or you will be going by yourself.”

A little before five, Amy and I walked out of our room. We decided that since this appeared to be a special barbecue with guests and all, that we would dress up.

Amy was wearing the long skirt that mom had gotten Kai, a lovely long-sleeved white blouse, the moccasins that I'd given her, and the pretty beaded choker that Naainish had given her. She had her hair done in a ponytail, and she used the beaded barrette to hold it, and of course, she wore the matching earrings. And she looked like a million dollars.

I, or Kai, was dressed to the nines. I had on the black wig, which we had left in the fancy two braids style that Helen had done. I was wearing the white Biil dress, the wrap moccasins, and most of the silver jewelry that we’d brought with us. The Concho belt, the squash blossom necklace, the silver feather earrings, and the silver and turquoise bracelets and rings. And of course, I had on the beaded choker that Naainish had given me.

As we walked through the resort, we saw other quests walking the same direction as we were. We received some nice looks, smiles, and a few comments. As we walked into the barbecue area, we saw that it was set up a little differently than last time. It looked like there was an area set aside in the middle. Maybe for the dancers. We also saw some people dressed in fancy Navajo dress. There were some men, some women, and some young girls.

We saw my aunt, uncle, and grandmother, and they were also dressed in traditional dress. We walked over to them and grandmother said, “There’s my two girls. And don’t you both look nice.”

“Thank you.”, I said. “You did say it was a special barbecue, so we figured that we’d go all out.”

My aunt and uncle turned, looked at us, and they both smiled. Then my aunt said to Amy, “Honey, come with me. We need to do something with you.”

My aunt grabbed Amy’s hand and led her off. I asked no one in particular, “Where are they going?”

My uncle replied, “I have no idea.”

Grandma was looking at me, and said, “Your hair. It was blond just a couple of hours ago.”

“It’s a wig, grandma.”, I replied. “I had a hairdresser that I know do it for me.”

“It looks like it’s your real hair. And I like what she did with the braids.”

“Thank you. I'll tell her you said so.”

I looked around some more and saw Chief Todachine and Naainish talking with another man who was dressed in a fancy way. I asked my grandmother, “Who’s the man that Chief Todachine and Naainish are talking with?”

Grandma looked and replied, “Oh. That’s Chief Kinlicheeny.”

“Chief Kinlicheeny?”

“Yes. He’s the Chief of the Navajo Nation.”

“Oh. And he’s here?”

My uncle had heard us, and said, “He knows where the good food is.”

I noticed that Naainish had seen me, as he smiled in my direction. Then I watched as he said something to the two Chiefs, and started walking towards us.

As he walked up, Naainish said, “Yá’át’ééh alní'íní, Kai.”

I replied, “Yá’át’ééh alní'íní, Naainish.”

“I had heard that you were coming back to visit us.”

“We couldn’t help it. We love it here.”

He smiled, and said, “Coming home to the land of your ancestors?”

I returned his smile, and said, “Maybe.”

“I know that Chief Todachine has met Tammy. And I think that he’d also like to meet Kai.”

I looked over at the two chiefs, and they were looking at us, and I asked Naainish, “What about the other Chief?”

“Chief Kinlicheeny?”


“I know that he’d also like to meet you.”

I took Naainish's arm, and said, “Introduce me.”

I can be such a girl sometimes.

As we walked up to the two Chiefs, Naainish said, “Kai this is Chief Kinlicheeny and Chief Todachin. Chiefs this is Kai Nez.”

Both Chiefs said, “Yá’át’ééh, Kai.”

“Yá’át’ééh, Chief Kinlicheeny and Chief Todachin.”, I replied.

Then the two Chiefs spoke together in Navajo, and I didn’t understand one word they were saying except, Nádleeh and my name. So I knew that they were talking about me.

Then Chief Kinlicheeny said to me, “So, young lady. You are the two spirit person that these two have been telling me about?”

“Yes, sir.”, I replied. “I am.”

“It is good to have you here. You bring good medicine to your people.”

I was embarrassed, so I just smiled.

He then said, “We need to talk while you’re here.”

“That would be nice.”, I replied.

There had been a group, which included a flute player, singers, and drummers, playing while everyone gathered for the barbecue. I saw my Uncle Paul walk over to where the singers and drummers were. He picked up a microphone, the music stopped, and Uncle Paul said, “Yá’át’ééh alní'íní. And for those of you that don’t speak Navajo, that means good evening. And we, the staff of the resort, would like to welcome you to our regular Friday night barbecue. And we hope that you will enjoy it.

“But before we get started with the food I have some special guests to introduce. So if they would join me.”

The two Chiefs and Naainish excused themselves, left me, and walked up to where my uncle was standing. And I walked over to where my grandmother was sitting. Amy and my aunt had returned while I was gone, and Amy was wearing some silver jewelry including a Concho belt and squash blossom necklace.

I didn’t get a chance to ask Amy where the jewelry came from, as my uncle started the introductions. He introduced both of the Chiefs and Naainish. The Chiefs both said a little something, and I figured that Naainish would say a prayer and we would eat.

But, Chief Kinlicheeny took the microphone from Naainish, and said, “Before we eat. We have a special presentation to make. It isn’t often that someone is granted membership in the Navajo Nation. Some requirements must be met, and this person had more than completed these requirements. And it’s with great pleasure as Chief of the Navajo Nation, and with the approval of the Navajo Nation Council, that I would like to grant tribal membership to Kai Nez. Young lady would you please join us.”

It took a few seconds for it to sink in that he had just called my name. I looked at my grandmother, she was smiling, and she said, “Go on honey.”

Reluctantly I made my way up to the microphone. As I walked up, Chief Kinlicheeny offered me his hand, and said, “ Yá’át’ééh, Kai Nez.”

I took his hand, and said, “ Yá’át’ééh, Chief Kinlicheeny.”

Naainish then gave the Chief something in a fancy picture frame. The picture frame was handmade out of branches tied together with rawhide strips and had a group of feathers attached to one corner. Then as the Chief handed it to me, he said, “Kai Nez this certificate confirms your membership in the Navajo Nation. And is attested to by my signature, the signature Chairman of the Navajo Nation Council, and others.”

There was applause as I took the picture frame from him and looked at it. There was the flash of someone taking pictures. The certificate was very ornate and had two names on it, Thomas Bly Young with Kai Nez under it. I looked at the Chief and said quietly, “Thank you very much. Becoming a member of the Nation is a great honor.”

The Chief and I posed for a couple of pictures.

Then Chief Kinlicheeny said, “And I think that Chief Todachin has something too.”

Chief Todachin then took the microphone, and said, “We also have something else for this young lady and a friend of hers. Would Amylin Young please join us. And while she’s coming up here I’m going to tell you a story and embarrass this young lady. Some of you may not understand what I’m going to say. But the members of the Navajo Nation will.”

I looked at Amy, and there was a look of surprise on her face. And while she was on the way to us the Chief continued with, “Neither of these young ladies live around here, and a few weeks ago they and Kai’s mother were visiting Kai's grandmother, a senior member of our clan, who was in the hospital, very sick. And to make a long story short. The doctors were surprised on how quickly the grandmother recovered after they arrived.

“We found that this young lady is a very special person to her people, she is a Nádleeh or a two spirit person.

“And this young lady should look familiar to you. She is the girl that is in the picture next to the registration desk in the hotel lobby, and she also appears in the resort's brochure.”

I felt my face get warm. And I also noticed that one of the dancers, a teenaged girl, was taking more than a casual interest in what the Chief had said.

Then the Chief continued with, “One evening Kai was meditating by the bonfire, and the guests were taken by her. She allowed them to take her picture, and she even posed with some of them. The resort's staff noticed Kai's beauty, and her interaction with and acceptance by the guests of the resort. She was asked if she would permit her pictures to be used in a new brochure that the resort was making. And she agreed.

“And while she was here she represented the Navajo people, her people, in a very positive way. Her friend Amy has also shown her acceptance of the Navajo people. So it was decided to make them both honorary members of our clan, which is a small part of the whole Nation.”

For some reason, I didn’t feel embarrassed or even upset with the Chief talking about me. And while the Chief was talking, Amy had joined us.

The Chief then took two framed certificates from Naainish, and as he handed one to Amy and one to me, he said, “Kai and Amy. It’s with great honor that I welcome you as honorary members of the Azee'tsoh dine'é clan. The Big Medicine People Clan.”

Again there was a nice round of applause. And more pictures.

Then my uncle walked up, congratulated Amy and me, thanked the Chiefs, and asked Naainish to say a prayer. Which he did, and when he finished my uncle invited everyone to enjoy the food and dancers.

Amy and I thanked the Chiefs again and headed towards where my grandmother was sitting. As we walked up, four other people were sitting there that hadn't been there before. My parents and Amy’s parents. And I said, “What are you guys doing here!?”

“Honey, we wouldn’t have missed this for anything.”, my mother said.

Our parents stood up and hugged both Amy and me.

I noticed that my father-in-law was giving me one of his, ‘I don’t know about you looks.’

I looked at him, smiled, and asked, “Is there something wrong, daddy?”

He smiled, “No. But you just have too much fun being Kai.”

“Daddy.”, Amy said. “You’ve known for a long time that he does.”

“I know, but it just amazes me how good he looks when he does this. And she looks better every time I see her.”

Then my father said, “We’d better get some food before it’s all gone.”

We joined the food line, and I asked my mother and father, “When did you guys get here?”

“Not long after you did.”, my dad replied. “There was another flight that left about forty-five minutes after yours that went through Denver. And we rented a car when we arrived in Albuquerque.”

“And you guys knew that they were going to do this?”

“Yes, honey.”, my mother said. “We knew that you were receiving the tribal membership and that they were going to make both of your memberships in your grandmother's clan official.”

I looked at Amy, and asked, “Did you know about this?”

“I only found out about you when your aunt took me to get the jewelry.”, Amy replied. “But I knew nothing about the ceremony to formalize our clan membership or our parents being here.”

I looked at my mother, and asked, “How long are you going to be here?”

“Until Monday.”, my mother replied. “We have a flight out early in the morning.”

After we had gotten our food, we went back to our table. The dancing started, and it was the first time that Amy or I had witnessed Navajo dancing. Four girls started the dancing by doing a basket dance. Then a guy did an intricate hoop dance, and that brought a lot of applause. Then three of the girls and three of the guys did a harvest dance. And finally, a fourth girl did a fancy shawl dance. All the dancing received nice applause.

After we’d finished eating, the two Chiefs and Naainish joined us, we sat, talked, and listened to the singers. Then the four young girl dancers walked over to us. The one that I’d notice looking at me when Amy and I were receiving our certificates, looked at me, and said, “Hi.”

“Hi.”, I replied. “We enjoyed the dancing. All of you were good. And I especially loved your shawl dance. And your outfits are beautiful.”

“Thanks. I love your outfit too. My name is Dibe. But they call me Dee. And ... ah ... could we talk?”

“Nice to meet you, Dee. I’m Kai, and this is Amy. Sure we can talk. What’s on your mind?”

She looked at the Chiefs, and asked, “Here?”

“Why not? Aren't we among friends?”

“I guess. So you’re the girl that’s in the brochure for the resort?”


“And you donated to my scholarship?”

“I don’t know. Did I?”

“The rumors that I hear say that the girl who did the pictures in the brochure did. And that’s you.”

“And what if I did?”

“I’ve wanted to thank you since I found out. You’ve raised my hopes of going to college. But why?”

“Why what?”

“Why did you donate that money to my scholarship fund. You didn’t have to do that. You don’t know me.”

“Yes, I did have to. When the resort people asked me to do the brochure, I told them that they should find a local girl to do it. But they were insistent that I do it. When I told them, that if they found a girl that could use the money that I’d do it if they would donate the money to her and they found you.”

She stood there and looked at me for a minute, and I thought she was going to cry. Finally, she said, “Thank you so much. That money plus the other donations have really helped.”

We talked some more, and I learned some things about Dee. Then one of the other girls said, “You have blue eyes.”

I smiled, and replied, “Yes. And this is a wig. I also have blond hair.” And I gave them the recessive gene explanation.

Finally one of the girls asked, “Are you really a Nádleeh?”

“Yes.”, I replied. “Why?”

“It’s usually a man that's a Nádleeh. It’s just interesting to see a girl that's one.”

With a smile, I asked, “Am I a girl?”

“You are aren’t you?”

Naainish chuckled, and said, “Girl’s, can you keep a secret?”

All four of the girls nodded yes.

Then Naainish continued with, “Kai is a very private person, so please keep what you’re about to hear to yourselves.

“And you’re correct. It's rare for a woman to be a Nádleeh. But it does happen.

"Kai is an exceptional person. As you know, she is a Nádleeh. And as all Nádleeh do, she has two spirits within her. And you are seeing her female spirit. She is a boy who when he fully embraces his female spirit is the girl. She has told us, that in spirit he is both female and male. But in body, he is a man.

"She surprised me the first time I met her as to how good she looked, talked, and acted. She understands that she is special, and has reached out and grasped it.

“A lot of Nádleeh will dress as who they feel they are at the time. And out here, since he has Navajo blood, he feels his female spirit as a Navajo girl. So he dresses like the girl Kai. And he is lucky enough to be able to look and act like that girl.

“If you have time tonight, and she’s going, you should go with her to the bonfire at the hotel. There is strong medicine in the area of the bonfire, and she feels it even more than I do. You may feel nothing while you're there, but if you do, it won’t be as strong as what she feels.”

Dee looked at me, and asked, “Kai. Are you going to the bonfire tonight?”

“Yes.”, I replied. “And you and your friends are welcome to come with us.”

“Thank you.”

“No. Thank you for coming forward and introducing yourself.

“I need to go to my room and get something. So why don’t the four of you meet us by the bonfire in about half an hour.”

We spent a few minutes saying goodnight to everyone and then headed for our room. I hadn’t been paying attention to the two Chiefs, but Amy had, and on the walk to our room, she said, “The two Chiefs were very interested in the way that you interacted with the four girls. And with what Naainish was saying about you and how you reacted to it."

“Really?”, I said.

“Yeah. And as we were walking away, I noticed that the Chiefs, Naainish, and grandma were talking.”

“I wonder what that was all about?”

“We may never know.”


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